The supply of cattle to the factories continues ahead of expectations, leaving beef farmers in a weak position to negotiate price, because processors are not under pressure to secure sufficient stock to meet their weekly requirements.
Officially quoted base prices remain at 390 cents/kg for steers, and reports from around the country confirm that even those who engage in hard selling with the factory agents, before agreeing to part with finished stock, are meeting strong resistance.
All the vibes are that very few are getting more than the quoted price this week.
Heifer prices stay 10 cents/kg ahead of steer prices, at a base of 400 cents/kg on offer.
But there is some latitude to negotiate for a few cents/kg over the quote for better quality heifer lots, which can bring the return up to 405 cents/kg base.
Cow prices are following the same unchanged pattern as the prime beef prices.
The base on offer for O/P-grade cows is 305-315 cents/kg.
The R-grade cows are being quoted at up to 335 cents/kg.
The intake at the factories for last week remained strong, at almost 32,900 head, which is more akin to an autumn supply than the last week of February, and more than sufficient for processors’s requirements.
In Britain, the price eased in sterling terms over the past week, with R4L-grade steers averaging equivalent to 452 cent/kg (including VAT), still 60 cents/kg ahead of the Irish price.
Supply and demand has continued to remain in equilibrium in Britain, with the trade best for topside cuts.
Meanwhile the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has reported a 3% rise in calf registrations in 2015, with a significant rise in registrations of Aberdeen Angus and Hereford sired calves.
In France, recent farmer protests continue to negatively impact the market, with some retailers cancelling promotions, and ultimately reducing the trade for imported product. Promotions at retail level are being limited to domestically produced knuckles and diced beef.
In Italy, the market continues stable, with little change reported; wholesale prices for hinds and forequarters were unchanged.